Love and marriage
April in Glenwood
The other day I saw a post by a Facebook friend who was sad to lose a patient who had been married to her husband 75 years. Watching her life partner say goodbye had to be excruciating.
That is nearly two of my lifetimes being in love.
Now that I’m coming up on my fourth year being single, I wonder if I have what it takes to be committed to one person. Am I too used to being able to come and go with no one to answer to? Have I become a selfish person incapable of loving another? Can I continue to hang out with whomever I please, male and female, if I were to find my soulmate?
Something tells me I won’t have so many questions when it’s right.
Anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows it’s not always pink candy hearts, nighttime back rubs and strolling hand-in-hand along the beach. Relationships take work. Hard work. Somebody is destined to get their feelings hurt at some point. Sure, the idea that two people can become one is the whole concept behind marriage. For whatever reason that’s stuck in my head, I have a hard time believing that’s possible.
How I’m supposed to think like a man is beyond me.
It’s not like I don’t have positive influences in my life that have proven two people can combine their lives into one neat package. My parents are coming up on their 40th wedding anniversary, and if that isn’t something special, I don’t know what is. In the past four decades, Dave and Dian have bought homes and cars together. They raised two children and floated through the Panama Canal on a big ship. They retired after decades of working for their longtime employers. They have said goodbye to their parents and grieved the loss of grandchildren.
All the while loving each other.
The same is true for my grandparents. My grandfather was a dedicated husband to my maternal grandmother, Betty, for 30 years. Their life, that began together post-World War II, was dedicated to working hard, raising two girls during the women’s lib movement , and pursuing the American Dream. After losing my grandma to cancer, my grandfather found love with my step-grandmother, Becky. They were married for more than 30 years, up until my grandpa’s passing in April, combining two families and three decades of the roller coaster ride that is love and marriage. My grandfather was a fine gentleman.
More importantly, he was an all-around stand-up guy.
With my dad and grandpa as male role models, it’s easy to see how high my standards reach. They have always valued marriage. I also have best friends who have been hitched since we were in our early-to-mid 20s. They are dedicated to family and have made decisions in their lives that are always in the best interest of their husbands and children.
They are the opposite of selfish.
Ask any of my friends in Colorado and they will tell you I struggle with my singledom. That’s because I hold these Midwestern values of love and marriage to be true. Even though there’s always the chance for heartbreak, I still believe in love. I support the idea that two people can meet and instantly bond, so much so they end up spending the next 75 years together.
Man that’s a long time.
I know life can be made sweeter when we find that special someone to share it with; that ultimate best friend, like my parents are with each other. I don’t know how they make it through their cross-country road trips without ripping each other’s heads off, but they do it. And they like it.
It has to be their collective sense of humor.
For the longest time, I blamed my singledom on the dating scene here in our valley — notorious for noncommittal relationships. Some guys — and girls, too — just want to hang out but not really get serious. It happens in mountain towns, and even cities, all the time. Real marriages do exist here in the mountains.
I’ve seen them with my own eyes.
Being married in the mountains seems like a lot of fun to me, so I don’t know what the hang-up is. Thanks to my good friend Dr. Steve — who isn’t even a therapist — my eyes have been opened to the fact that maybe I’m the one with the hang-ups on love. I obviously enjoy my single lifestyle. Or I wouldn’t be single, right?
It probably isn’t you, it’s likely me.
I’ve projected that I want something like marriage so bad that it has become a dating issue for me. The crazy part is, I don’t even know if I can ever share a bathroom with a man again, let alone be forever tied to someone legally. So it’s not the valley’s keep-your-options-open mentality or the top heavy male-to-female ratio that keeps my Facebook relationship status a mystery to most. I certainly don’t want to be married if it’s going to be to someone who drives me batty.
None of us do.
But sometimes we end up doing just that. So maybe that’s my biggest fear.
Because 75 years is a really long time.
— April E. Clark wishes her parents a happy 40th wedding anniversary. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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